Women’s History of Outer Space

I’m excited to announce that I am in the progress of building a new class on the Women’s History of Outer Space!    I might be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure this is one of the (if not the) first of its kind.

The traditional History of Outer Space if often described through the works of a cadre of dedicated and devoted astronomers, engineers, scientists, and astronauts… most of whom were men.   But scratching the surface in any one of these disciplines, one finds a host of dedicated, and often uncredited, women who performed the calculations, poured over the astronomical plates, and made significant fundamental discoveries that changed the way we see the cosmos. In the past 50 years, women have gone from purely secretarial positions at NASA to commanding the International Space Station, administering the Mars Rover Program, and even losing their lives in pursuit of discovery. This course will tell their stories and, in doing so, reflect a larger story of how science and society both enabled and resisted this change.

With the recent success of the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ and the 2016 history text ‘Rise of the Rocket Girls,’ I believe there will be strong student interest.    This is a chance to build on 451 and tell a wider story showing the interplay between science, technology, and society.

If all goes well, I hope to have it ready to offer during Winter 2019.